Week one of college football has come and gone, but with it has been some truly interesting storylines. Is Colorado football with Deion Sanders a legitimate contender? Has Boston College football fallen off the face of a cliff? Is USC football going to do big things this season? Our team of writers has come to assemble their takes of the biggest week one winners and losers of week one during the 2023-24 college football season in this week’s edition of roundtable.
Winner: Fresno State Bulldogs
Ever since a 1-4 start to their 2022 campaign, which included a road loss against the UConn football team, the Bulldogs have been one of college football’s hottest programs. Battling back and forth with the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium, Fresno State’s offense scored three touchdowns in a four-drive span, grabbing a four-point lead with a minute remaining. The Bulldog defense did the rest, forcing a turnover on downs for the school’s first win against a Big Ten opponent since downing the Illinois Fighting Illini in 2009.
Loser: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
I do not know what it is about football teams in Georgia, but they somehow find a way to blow a big lead in regulation. The Atlanta Falcons did it in two straight games in 2020; the Yellow Jackets repeated the feat at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Up 15 at the half, things got worse for Georgia Tech in the fourth as they lost the lead before turning the ball over on consecutive drives and missing out on the onside kick after scoring a touchdown with 67 seconds left.
Winner: Wyoming Cowboys
Wyoming were 10-point underdogs to open the season against a Texas Tech team coming off of an impressive 8-5 2022 season. The Red Raiders jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Cowboys rallied and outscored Texas Tech 20-3 over the final 49 minutes of the game to force overtime. Wyoming would prevail in the second overtime after scoring the game-winning two-point conversion for a thrilling 35-33 victory that emptied the student section onto the field in celebration after the final whistle.
Loser: Baylor Bears
Week one featured a handful of disappointing showings in college football but none were more pitiful than the Bears 42-31 loss to Texas State. Baylor came into this match-up as a 27.5-point favorite over a Texas State program still searching for their first power-five victory since moving up to the FBS in 2012. The Bears surrendered over 440 yards of offense and never led after the midway point of the first quarter in an ugly opening night in Waco.
Winner: Duke Blue Devils
A future UConn football opponent, Duke absolutely demolished then-top 10 opponent Clemson. They brought the national powerhouse into their stadium and crushed them, establishing the Blue Devils as legitimate contenders this year to win the ACC. Although QB Riley Leonard didn’t have any success finding the end zone through the air, he neared 100 yards rushing and scored. With two more top 10 opponents on the docket this year, Duke will have the opportunity to prove they belong.
Loser: TCU Horned Frogs
The reigning national runner-ups, TCU came into their matchup against future Big 12 opponent Colorado as three-touchdown favorites. Their home opener, most analysts expected them to win big over a Buffaloes squad that had a complete roster overhaul. Instead, their defense was torched and the offense couldn’t hold up. It was clear that this wasn’t the same TCU team that made it to the finals, but they were expected to be better than this. It’s easy to overreact to these things this early in the year, but it’s not a good sign.